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16 December 2011

Maybe we will just get Planet of the Apes

Japan to release GPS/radiation detector tracked monkey's into Fukashima area to assess the extent of the radiation....via Gizmodo

REALLY???!!! Iran hijacked the Sentinel Drone??

The Christian Science Monitor says they have reports from an Iranian engineer that says they exploited a weakness in the GPS guidance system of the RQ-170 drone to guide it down to the landing site of their choosing.  WTF!  The report says they gained enough knowledge reverse engineering downed lower-end drones to develop the exploit.  Very disappointing.

Planet of the Apes will Never Be

Via Gizmodo:
The NIH has halted all approvals for medical research on chimpanzees.  Having done animal research in prior jobs....I am most happy to see this.  Unfortunately...or fortunately...those "damn dirty apes" will never lay a hand on us.

Higgs Boson Hub-Bub

Sorry, I just haven't been able to bring myself to write about CERN's "God Particle" announcements.  Press releases basically telling we don't know anything yet doesn't get me very excited.  But if you're looking for knowledge take a look at my newest favorite blog...ars technica...thanks for the recommmend, Romy!

"House of the Rising Sun" on Old Electronic Equipment

Via Geekologie:

"He used an Atari 800XL with an EiCO Oscilloscope as the organ, a Texas instrument Ti-99/4A with a Tektronix Oscilloscope as the guitar, a hard drive powered by a PiC16F84A microcontroller as the bass drum and cymbal, and an HP Scanjet 3P, Adaptec SCSI card, and a computer powered by Ubuntu v9.10 OS for the vocals."

Killer Live Dubstep Performance

Too much Alchemy and not enough Rockstar.  Check out this guy's amazingly fast hands.  Whether you like dubstep or not, this is pretty amazing to watch.

08 December 2011 - Iranian army displays captured US drone - Iranian army displays captured US drone

I can't let this go without saying....I can not believe our administration (i.e. regime) allowed the most advanced (publicly, sort of) UAV to fall into the hands of one of the worst regimes on the planet. With the options of using special forces to recover the aircraft (terrible option) versus dropping a MOAB on it (fantastic option) being ruled out, we've handed our most advanced technology to the Iranians and the Chinese without so much as a demand to give it back. With all the concerns over any action be viewed as an "act of war", I say "fuck-all". As a red-blooded American, I say the regime of Iran can go to hell, and if I had been able to make the call, the crash site for the RQ-170 Sentinel would have been a 50 foot deep 500 foot wide crater of vitrified earth and I would have told Iran to suck it.

Just my two cents worth...

02 December 2011

Ferrari F430: Skinned in Leather and Tattooed

Re-post from!

The Giant Weta Would Make Me "Weta" My Pants...

Holy s#!t, the largest insect in the world!  The Giant Weta from New Zealand.  I'm glad I didn't run into one of these on my visits there.  Apparently, only live on a small isolated island there.  A pregnant weta was recorded at 70 grams.  Via Gizmodo

Traxxas XO-1: RC Car that goes 100+ MPH

Traxxas has unveiled it's 100+MPH electric RC Car, the XO-1.  Check this video out....As a bonus...being a Texas boy...Traxxas is based in Texas, so these videos look to be shot at Texas Motor Speedway and maybe the Texas Motorplex in Ennis.  I have a Traxxas Slash 4x4; I think this car may actually be too much for me to handle it....@ 100MPH, the car will cover 147 feet in one is this possibly practical?  Maybe if you put a FPV camera on-board.

Raytheon Small Tactical Munition (STM) Give Small UAV's Offensive Capabilities

I obviously have a fascination with military hardware.  Couple that with my love of RC aircraft...Raytheon now has a small air to surface guided munition that smaller UAV's can carry.  They call it the STM (Small Tactical Munition).  You can download a little video from Raytheon that shows it in action.
It appears the guidance system was the focus of the video, as there is no BOOM!  Also, not explicitly stated is it appears to be effectively a guided bomb, i.e. no propulsion system (other than gravity).

Another Great 1950's Film About Fluid Coupling

Continuing with Jalopnik's great finds on these half century old fluid mechanics videos, here is a great one about fluid torque converters.

1950's Film Explains How Power Steering Works

Jalopnik has had a great series on mechanical principles that we take for granted everyday.  This video has a great explanation for power steering.  Sorry, no Michael Bay explosions or Disney Channel excitement, but great learning tool, nonetheless.

01 December 2011

Star Wars AT-AT Liquor Cabinet

The pinnacle of adult geekdom...Check out this beautiful wooden Star Wars AT-AT liquor cabinet.  The interior could do with some finish out, but the as a whole this is amazing.  Would love to have this in my media room.

James Bond Wanna-Be's Apply Here:

"The Guardian" in the UK reports that this website is a recruiting tool for the GCHQ (Government Communications Head Quarters).  Not surprisingly this is an encryption decoding exercise, which is a testament  to the future of warfare...Will it be fought with bytes or bullets?  I suspect the former.

30 November 2011

Bridgestone Super-Tire

So Bridgestone has this new airless, puncture-proof tire.  TechOn has a nice little article about them.  The question I have for the readers is would you put these on your Escalade?  or Fiesta, for that matter?  Personally, I dig them.  Being a gear head, how would they perform on the track?

27 June 2010

A new kind of antimatter confirmed: Geoneutrinos

Researchers at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy have observed the geoneutrino, i.e. an antineutrino originating in the planet's core, in their Borexino experimental device.  Neutrinos are the byproduct of nuclear reactions.  They are particles which travel near the speed of light and have a mass, but it is infinitesimally small.  Neutrinos normally pass through all matter without any interaction.  The most notable source of neutrinos is the Sun.  It is estimated that about 50 trillion solar neutrinos pass through the human body every second.  However, they're lack of interaction makes them very difficult to detect.  Well, antineutrinos are similar except they have the opposite spin state as the neutrino and are a type of antimatter.  Very elaborate and complex devices are used to detect neutrinos and antineutrinos.  Typically they are buried deep in the earth or a mountain to provide shielding.  Imagine any sci-fi movie with an imposing giant sphere with magical powers...and you have envisioned a neutrino detector ("Star Wars", "Sphere", "Event Horizon").  The neutrino or antineutrino is detected with the emission of photons of light.  Very sensitive "cameras" are needed to see this one pinpoint of light in the voluminous detection sphere.
It is thought that radioactive decay within the earth contributes to the internal heating of the planet, plate tectonics and general convection in the mantle and core of the earth.  Borexino wasn't the first experiment to detect geoneutrinos.  Researchers at the KamLAND experiment in Japan reported detecting geoneutrinos in their device, 1 km below the surface in Japan.  However, these emissions had to be deduced by filtering against the neighboring nuclear reactors, the location was purposefully chosen to study antineutrinos from those reactors.  That being said the Borexino is the first to intentionally and discretely detect this type of antimatter which is believed to derive from the nuclear decay of uranium and thorium.

17 June 2010

Breaking News!! Whale Poop Ends Global Warming

Researchers as the University of Flinders in Adelaide have published a paper in the Journal of the Royal Society B that shows the high iron content in sperm whale feces promotes phytoplankton growth which are fixers of carbon dioxide.  Did I mention little shrimp, called krill, eat phytoplankton and krill are one of the primary food sources for baleen whales.  And so, the circle of life is a whole new meaning to the saying "eat shit". 
The researchers estimate that the 12,000 sperm whales in the Southern Ocean displace the carbon emissions of about 40,000 automobiles.  Each whale poops about 50 metric tons of iron every year.  That's 600 thousand tons of iron...that's just the iron...what about the rest of the poop?!  Bet you'll think twice about swimming at the beach, now.

28 May 2010

An Update on the Rocketdyne Scramjet Test: SUCCESS!!

You can just make out the X-51A Waverider under the wing of the B-52.
Following up on my previous post on the Boeing Waverider X-51.  The Air Force has announced a new record for sustained Mach 5 (i.e. hypersonic) flight of a whopping 200 seconds with this first test flight of the X-51.  Granted the previous record was 12 seconds.  Three additional prototypes are in-hand and will be flown on similar missions, each learning from the previous flight.  The X-51A Program Manager, Charlie Brink, said, "We equate this leap in engine technology as equivalent to the post-World War II jump from propeller-driven aircraft to jet engines."  Of interest is a conventional chemical rocket was used to propel the engine to mach 4.8, after jettisoning the rocket motor the scramjet took the X-51 to mach 5, so all that effort for a change in velocity of +148 mph.  Me thinks they need a bigger fuel tank or a fuel with a higher energy density.

27 May 2010

BP:'s not as exciting as it sounds [UPDATED]

Seems people might be interested in what BP is doing to close that well in our Great Gulf of Mexico that is spewing ~5000 barrels of oil per day.  Consider the Exxon Valdez dumped 250 thousand barrels, in a bay.  It would take 50 days of this BP well running to equate, so don't get your panties in a bunch, it only been 38 days.  Actual flow rates are not known, though.  The New York Times had this nice diagram to describe the process.  BP's diagram is below, prettier, but not as informative.  You can summarize the process as trying to chug a whole beer while you vomit up that chili cheese dog with extra onions you ate this morning that was left on the kitchen counter last night.  Who will win, the beer [BP top-kill] or the hotdog [spewing oil]?  I just hope after the investigation this turns out to truly be an accident and no serious negligence is found on the part of BP or the drilling company.  Our illustrious President Obama is killing all the drilling contracts as we speak.  Can anyone say knee-jerk....emphasis on jerk. 
UPDATE:  EPIC date [6 June 2010] the oil still flows and the flow rates are much higher than thought.  It is believed it has more than surpassed the Exxon Valdez spill.  One glimmer of hope is they have been able to start collecting some of the oil at the broken well head and pumping it aboard ships.

20 May 2010

Birth Control for Men: Gives a Whole New Meaning to the Word "Hummer"

BBC reported that University of North Carolina researchers will start clinical studies on the use of ultrasound as a means of male birth control.  Yes, the same equipment used by your wife's OB/GYN to sneak a peek a your unborn and unfortunate-to-have-you-as-a-father child.    Essentially, they can blast your balls with ultrasonic waves to temporarily halt the production of sperm.  Dr. Jame Tsuruta said "We think it could provide men with up to six months of reliable, low-cost, non-hormonal contraception from a single round of treatment."
I can't believe my wife hasn't smacked me up side the head with this research, yet.  I'm sure she'd be creative about getting me into the clinical trial.  Honestly, this concept sounds a lot more appealing than the "ol' snip-snip."  My hope is that they come out with a cheap device that can be used at home, rather than showing up at the boy-gyno's office every six months for my scrotal-ultra-vibrating.
By the way, this research was partially funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, about 100 grand US, which certainly won't get this very far into clinicals, but I'm sure there will be plenty of funding to come.  This grant came via the Foundation's association with the Grand Challenges Exploration Grant.  The full project description can be found here.  Reviewing their website, you can see the ultimate outcome is to control population growth.  I think we'll save the eugenics discussion for another day.